Mother erased from happy family photo

Mother erased from happy family photo

Former US Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg announced that he and his partner Chasten have “become parents”.

Buttigieg, now the US transportation secretary, made the announcement on Twitter by sharing a photo of himself with Chasten and newborn twins in a hospital bed.  

“Chasten and I are beyond thankful for all the kind wishes since first sharing the news that we’re becoming parents,” the post read. 

“We are delighted to welcome Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to our family.”

Many on Twitter were quick to ask why the two men were in a hospital bed. 

“My wife has given birth to four kids and it never once occurred to me to have her get out of the hospital bed so that I could take a photo.” wrote US Political commentator Matt Walsh.

“One question – why are you two dudes in a birthing bed?” asked another.

As is often the way, the comments on social media ranged from the tongue-in-cheek to the downright offensive.

But they did raise an important question: What happened to the mother of these two babies?

Of course, no mention was made by Pete and Chasten about the mother, nor was she mentioned in most of the news articles.

In an article in The Guardian, Chasten mentions a mother who was previously considering giving her child up for adoption, saying that her changing her mind led to a “weird cycle of anger and frustration and hope”.

It caused the pair “anger and frustration” that a mother decided to keep her child.

As too often happens the role of the mother is removed from the story, like she wasn’t required at all.

A story recently published in The Australian tells of a Sydney-based gay couple who used surrogacy for their children, talking about “egg-donors”, “surrogates” and babies being carried in “stomachs” to avoid speaking of the women required to give their bodies for the process.

“‘Where were you born? In whose tummy?’ says one of the men to his son. ‘He knows he was in our surrogate’s stomach.’

“‘We lost two surrogates,’ recalls Penn, explaining that one turned out to be too old to carry, while another suffered a family crisis. ‘It’s a roller-coaster ride,’ he continues, ‘such a test of emotions and our relationship.’” 

Shopping between women to find one prepared to have her womb rented and put her physical and psychological health on the line was “a test of their relationship”?

“The doctor said: ‘Whose would you like to put in first?’ recalls Penn. ‘And we said: “The healthiest embryo and a boy first,” because in America, you can gender select.’”

Where are the women in these stories?

They’re discarded after they’ve served their purpose. Kicked out of the hospital bed once they’ve given birth and handed over their baby. Separated from the child they carried for nine months. Erased from history.

One place you rarely find them is in the family photos, that’s for sure.